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Hedgehogs/Hedgehog has a swollen penis?


So I have a male, almost 2 year old, African hedgehog. He has a large swelling coming from his stomach. I took him to my local vet, which has little knowledge on hedgehogs, and she said that is penis was swollen and there was nothing she could do. The closest exotic vet is hours away like almost 6 hours or more. He is urinating and drinking water, not often as normal, but he is drinking some and urinating. What can I do to help him? I am giving him warm sitz baths and keeping the are well lubricated but it has been two days since the doctor visit and almost a week since he has eaten. He seems to be doing better but his penis is still extracted and swollen and now its a really dark brownish/red color. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

Hi, Kathryn:

That vet should be ashamed of herself!  There are quite a few things you can check on that donít require specialized hedgehog training.

One of the things most likely to cause the penis to get sore is if your little guy got something wedged in between the penis itself and the sheath.  Do you use bits or shavings of wood as the liner for your habitat?  Well, really, anything but cloth liners can be suspect.  I would give your guy another bath and gently try to check for this.

If that doesnít do the trick, then you still might be able to find a regular small-animal vet who is willing to treat an exotic.  Or you could call the exotics vet and see if s/he would be able to do a phone consult.  You could take pics with your phone and send those off.

However, if your hedgie wonít unroll, no vet will be able to see whatís going on without giving him some sedation (usually gas).  If that is what has to be done, youíre probably best off with an exotics specialist, who will be familiar with dosages, etc.

Please let me know how this turns out.  Itís nothing to mess around with; you need to get it resolved ASAP.  And if it does turn out to be something stuck in his sheath, you will want to change the sort of liner material you use away from particulates!

Good Luck & Hedgie Blessings,


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Laurel Sedgwick


Can answer care, health, & behavioral questions, as well as basic breeding questions. Can help questioner figure out if a hedgehog is the right pet for them.


Have had hedgehogs since 2001 - 16 so far. I have no experience with non-weaned babies, and limited experience with breeding and with pregnant hedgehogs. I have had too much experience with WHS (Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome). I would rate myself "expert" at syringe-feeding, and as "advanced" at performing SubQs. Two of my hedgehogs have injured an eye to the point that it had to be surgically removed. I have had a lot of hedgehogs who suffered from cancer, some who had surgery and some who didn't. Some of my quilly kids have had abcessed teeth; one guy lost all of his teeth but one! I have had multiple female hedgehogs who suffered from bleeding, who had to have surgery for uterine cancer, which was in most cases successful. Temperamentally, I have had very timid hedgehogs, persistently grumpy hedgehogs, biting hedgehogs, and very friendly hedgehogs whom I took with me as "ambassadors" for educational presentations.

I am a Certified Judge for the IHA, and run a rescue station for the HWS. My application to be a rescue station for the IHA is pending.

I read everything I can get my hands on. Have read the best of the books, Dawn Wrobel's THE HEDGEHOG and Tig M-Burleson's THE HEDGEHOG PRIMER. I am a member of the International Hedgehog Association (IHA) and Hedgehog Welfare Society (HWS), and have been a member of various online bulletin board groups since 2002.
I have attended many hedgehog shows and have served as a judge in IHA conformation shows.

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